College Fantasy Football: QB battles to watch
There are plenty of interesting quarterback battles that will rage through the summer and into fall camp, and could impact fantasy football rosters. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney searched out opinions on where things stand from reporters that cover each team.
Arizona State: Dillon Sterling-Cole vs. Jaydon Daniels
Local view: "The lone returning scholarship quarterback, junior Dillon Sterling-Cole, and true freshman Jayden Daniels, will be in a heated battle come fall camp. In the spring, Sterling-Cole certainly showed signs that he's ready to turn the corner after a few quiet years in the program, and when it comes to Daniels he undoubtedly justified his stature in terms of being one of the highest-rated quarterbacks ASU has ever landed, hitting the ground running in spring practice and distinguishing himself from the other two fellow freshman quarterbacks that arrived with him in January.
"Sterling-Cole could start the first couple of games, just to ease Daniels into his eventual role, which he could capture by the end of September. But if Sterling-Cole ends up clearly outperforming Daniels in fall camp and beyond, then the freshman will have to patiently wait his turn." – Hod Rabino, DevilsDigest.com
Arkansas: Ben Hicks vs. Nick Starkel
Local view: "Ben Hicks has two main advantages over Nick Starkel at the moment but I still lean toward the former Aggie starting the season. Hicks has thrived in Morris' system before and knows the offense to a tee, however, he can be inconsistent and he forces unadvisable throws in key situations. Both quarterbacks will be working with a young group of receivers. Hicks has had a little more time with the offense, participating in spring football, but Starkel has more experience against Power Five opponents and is generally considered the better passer. It's a toss up, but I'm leaning toward Starkel right now.” – Nikki Chavanelle, HawgBeat.com
Auburn: Joey Gatewood vs. Bo Nix
Local view: "Auburn will start a freshman quarterback in the opener against Oregon. Redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood and true freshman Bo Nix emerged from spring as the top two in the race and will go head-to-head through at least the first two weeks of preseason drills to determine the starter for game one.
"I’d give Gatewood the edge going into fall. He’s improved his passing touch and offers a real dual-threat ability Auburn hasn’t had since Nick Marshall in 2013-14. Nix is a plug-and-play freshman with a high upside that I expect to play early, too. Wouldn’t be surprised if both play against the Ducks and the QB competition stretches into the first month of the season." – Bryan Matthews, AuburnSports.com
Miami: N’Kosi Perry vs. Jarren Williams vs. Tate Martell
Local view: "When Miami concluded the 2018 season, nobody would have believed that N’Kosi Perry had a future with the program after a series of problems and suspensions. Now as a new season approaches, Mark Richt has been replaced by Manny Diaz and there is a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Dan Enos, who arrived from Alabama. Perry has responded really well to the new coaching and has to be considered the frontrunner to start the season opener against Florida in Orlando on Aug. 24.
"Whether he can hold the job the entire season would unquestionably depend on the level of his performance. Perry is being pushed by Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. Coaches are saying that all three remain in the running as training camp approaches. But Perry had the best spring and the job appears his to lose." – Gary Ferman, CaneSport.com
Minnesota: Zack Annexstad vs Tanner Morgan
Local view: "There are two real contenders to win Minnesota’s QB job: sophomore Zack Annexstad and redshirt sophomore Tanner Morgan. Annexstad won last year’s starting job over Morgan after a lengthy, tight position battle. He started off the season strong but hurt his ankle in the second game of the season. With a bad ankle, Annexstad was serviceable but less mobile and less accurate. Morgan took over after Annexstad suffered an injury against Nebraska and had highs and lows of his own.
"The two have different strengths. Annexstad has a stronger arm, although struggled connecting on deep balls last season; Morgan is the better runner. I give Annexstad the slightest edge to win the job but expect the competition to last until shortly before Minnesota’s first game, against South Dakota State, on Aug. 29." – Matt Jessen-Howard, TheGopherReport.com
NC State: Matt McKay vs Devin Leary vs Bailey Hockman
Local view: "NC State's quarterback situation is unlikely to be officially resolved until the morning of its season opener against East Carolina. It's a three-team race among redshirt sophomores Matt McKay and Bailey Hockman and redshirt freshman Devin Leary.
"Although Hockman is a Florida State transfer and Leary was a four-star, Elite 11 quarterback, the more unheralded and local product McKay left the spring as the favorite. He is the most familiar with the offense and adds dual-threat capabilities with his athleticism that could be a plus in an offense that took some heavy losses off last year's team." – Matt Carter, TheWolfpacker.com
Oklahoma State: Dru Brown vs Spencer Sanders
Local view: "Oklahoma State will enter fall camp with a quarterback battle in full swing. Senior Dru Brown put up very good numbers in his final season at Hawai'i, while redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders has great upside as a true dual-threat QB. Expect this battle to play out well into the season, as Mike Gundy hasn't shied away from two-QB systems and new OC Sean Gleeson has used them previously as well." – Jeff Johnson, OStateIllustrated.com
TCU: Alex Delton vs. Justin Rogers vs. Mike Collins vs. Max Duggan
Local view: "TCU has one of the fullest quarterback rooms in the country and no clear-cut starter as we head into summer. Alex Delton is a grad transfer from Kansas State with incredible speed, but hasn’t shown us much with his arm. Justin Rogers is the most highly-touted of the players, but he still recovers from a high school knee injury that limited him to just three plays in TCU’s bowl game all last season. Michael Collins brings back the most experience in this offense, but he missed all of the spring due to injury. Max Duggan is a four-star, but also a true freshman that looked like one in the spring scrimmage. TCU still awaits word on whether Matthew Baldwin will be eligible immediately after transferring from Ohio State. I bet Delton gets to start the opener, but I think Rogers eventually wins the job." – Billy Wessels, PurpleMenace.com
Virginia Tech: Ryan Willis vs. Quincy Patterson vs. Hendon Hooker
Local take: "Virginia Tech has an incumbent quarterback in former walk-on Ryan Willis, but there should be plenty of competition as multiple players chase him. Redshirt freshman Quincy Patterson and redshirt sophomore Hendon Hooker both got time last season, while the Hokies are still hoping Oregon transfer Braxton Burmeister gets an NCAA waiver to be eligible immediately.
"Willis’ fit in the offense probably makes him the favorite to retain the starting position. He’s big-armed and mobile, and although accuracy in the intermediate passing game has been an issue, the Hokies’ receiving corps is probably best-matched with the guy who can push the ball downfield." – Tim Sullivan, HokieHaven.com
Wake Forest: Jamie Newman vs Sam Hartman
Local view: "Heading out of spring ball, redshirt junior Jamie Newman looked like the early favorite to win the starting quarterback job after a strong spring capped by an impressive spring game performance. Newman was a little more dynamic with explosive plays last year when he took over after Sam Hartman went down with his season-ending injury. The offense was more efficient late in the season with Newman and he should have the edge this going into camp." – Kelly Quinlan, DeaconsIllustrated.com
Washington State: Gage Gubrud vs. Anthony Gordon vs. Trey Tinsley
Local view: “Anthony Gordon had the best spring of all the QBs competing for the starting job and emerged as the slight leader over Trey Tinsley. The wildcard is graduate transfer Gage Gubrud from Eastern Washington. He suffered an injury in winter workouts and did not fully participate in spring practice until the final workout when he finally took first team reps. He's fully healthy now and should be a serious contender when fall camp opens in early August. Is he the nest Gardner Minshew? Time will tell. Cammon Cooper and true freshman Gunner Cruz will likely have to wait until next spring before getting a legitimate shot at the starting job.
"Just like last season, Mike Leach will likely decline to officially name a starter until hours before kickoff of the season opener against New Mexico State. Who will win the job? The battle will likely boil down to Gordon or Gubrud with the latter's extensive experience at EWU being the difference. The last graduate transfer QB worked out pretty well for WSU and the Cougars will hope history repeats itself.” – Scott Hood, WazzuWatch.com
West Virginia: Austin Kendall vs. Jack Allison vs Trey Lowe III
Local view: "West Virginia currently has an ongoing quarterback competition between Oklahoma graduate transfer Austin Kendall and Miami transfer Jack Allison. The two played to a near deadlock in the spring with neither separating himself. Ultimately this will be a close race but Kendall seems to be the one likely to emerge even with Allison having a career start under his belt in the bowl game." – Keenan Cummings, WVSports.com
Wisconsin: Jack Coan vs. Graham Mertz
Local view: “Wisconsin’s quarterback battle will be interesting come August. Gone is Alex Hornibrook, who announced his transfer to Florida State. This spring, Jack Coan, Danny Vanden Boom, Chase Wolf and Graham Mertz all received reps in hopes to earn more snaps during fall camp. Coan, a junior who started in the Pinstripe Bowl against Miami, holds the most collegiate game experience of the four and played well in the spring.
"Right now, he appears to be the favorite to start heading into fall camp and the season opener against South Florida. However, keep an eye on Mertz, the four-star signee and 2019 All-American Bowl MVP, who enrolled early at Wisconsin and showed promising signs of development in practices open to the media.” – Jon McNamara, BadgerBlitz.com